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Good news, but help!

This is a discussion on Good news, but help! within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; So, I think I mentioned when I introduced myself that one of my orchids is ...

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  1. #1
    hcubed's Avatar
    hcubed is offline Senior Member
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    Exclamation Good news, but help!

    So, I think I mentioned when I introduced myself that one of my orchids is an Oncidium (probably Sweet Sugar) that has NOT been feeling too well. I got it from the grocery store and it pretty much right away started dropping flowers and shrivelling the pseudobulbs. So I assumed the worst for the roots, repotted (and found a mess in the there too) and then hoped for the best. Unfortunately, that was back in February or so and the bulbs haven't really improved at all. Still so wrinkly they are almost sharp and I have a real hard time not watering it since it looks like it needs water, but what it really needs it roots.

    Anyway, I recently (2 days ago) moved it to a new spot thinking that maybe I just hadn't found its favorite spot. I have heard orchids don't like to be moved, but I have 2 others that actually liked a move when I found the right spot, so I thought it might help.

    Well, this morning I noticed what looks like a spike starting - which is great! But I don't think the plant is very strong - it certainly doesn't look like it. So I could use some tips on how to help the plant along and not abort the spike. It was flowering in January and has no new growth yet....

    What do you think - is this a response to the new spot (lower light, but better air movement and fairly high humidity from drying laundry) or did this start in the old spot and I didn't notice? Should I move it back? Should I fertilize?

  2. #2
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    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Let's have a photo of the 'spike'. Stress sometimes induces a spike on an orchid. If the plant is sickly, it might be better to abort the spike and let it grow some roots. Sometimes, when oncidiums have bad roots, they grow air-roots and these seem to come from everywhere. Your plant might be growing a root instead of a spike. Give it a few days and you will be able to tell the difference.

    Best of luck with it!

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    I had a pretty hard time getting a picture of it since it is still mostly hidden. But here are a couple. As you can see it is starting between the outer sheaf of the lead bulb opposite where the old spike was - that was what made me think it was also a spike. What do you think - move? abort? stay?




  4. #4
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    I'd wait another couple of weeks to see how the plant is handling it. If it looks too stressed, cut the spike.

  5. #5
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    Update: Well, I decided to just repot the plant and try to get the roots going again, spike or no spike. So I did that 2-3 weeks ago and guess what, that spike has started growing again!

    The funny part is that that plant has virtually no roots left - I had to cut everything back! I have one crazy little oncidium!

  6. #6
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    Are you pretty sure by now that it is actually a spike? It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I think a new growth is more likely. Any sign of new roots on that pbulb? New root starts and new growths usually go together. Often, if you peel back the dried up outer leaves on a pbulb which recently bloomed, you will find the beginnings of a new growth underneath. Dunno without being there.

    I have had shriveled bulb oncs as bad or worse really respond when I put them into s/h. Sometimes I think they need even moisture to come out of it.

  7. #7
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    Well, eventually I do want to put it into s/h, but I wanted my first attempt at s/h to be on a stronger plant. I have a phal that I want to put into s/h as soon as possible, but it has a spike that needs to bloom first, so that's what I'm waiting for.

    Hm, I really did think it was a spike. But I just went and inspected it again and maybe you are right and it is a new bulb. I had never had new growth start inside the outer sheaf of another bulb. But you say that is entirely possible?

  8. #8
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    Well the new growths typically emerge from the bottom of a bulb which has recently bloomed. While on a young, unbloomed bulb, the spikes will come up inside the nice green leaves surrounding the bulb, as everything matures and the blooms are over, those outer leaves often dry up and the new growth pushes up from beneath. One way or the other, you should know pretty soon. The new growths are kind of teardrop shaped at first. And not long after that, the bulb begins pushing new roots. And your plant will be well on the road to recovery. The older shriveled bulbs may never regain their plumpness, but the new growths will start to look the way you want them to.

  9. #9
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    Just wanted to give a little progress report on my oncidium...

    The growth has in the meantime turned out to be a new bulb afterall, which is much better than a spike at this point. I put it into s/h 3-4 weeks ago, like suggested, and the new bulb is growing again, so I think that is a nice positive sign. Plus the last couple days I have noticed 4-5 new roots starting, which great!

    I am a little worried that the new roots will die too quickly (damping off, I think?) - it's happened before with the same type of plant. Any tips??

    Thanks for the advice so far!

  10. #10
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    Update: here's the same plant ca. 4 months later! I'm really proud of it's progress! (especially since I killed the last one like this...)


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